Revolutionary Rehearsals in the Neoliberal Age

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Edited by Colin Barker, Gareth Dale, and Neil Davidson

Haymarket Books

7/20/2021, paperback

SKU: 9781642594683


This ambitious volume examines revolutionary situations during a non-revolutionary historical conjuncture--the neoliberal era. The last three decades have seen an increase in the number of political upheavals that challenge existing power structures, many of them taking the form of urban revolts. This book compellingly explores a series of such upheavals--in Eastern Europe, South Africa, Indonesia, Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, sub-Saharan Africa (including Congo, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso) and Egypt. Each chapter studies the ways in which protest movements developed into insurgent challenges to state power, and the strategies that regimes have deployed to contain and repress revolt.

In addition to empirical chapters, the book engages in theorization of revolution, dealing with questions such as the patterning of revolution in contemporary history, the relationship between class struggle and social movements, and the prospects of socialist revolution in the twenty-first century.


"General histories of the neoliberal era are shaped by an overwhelming sense of defeat for radical movements. It is, of course, true that neoliberalism was spectacularly ushered in by shattering working-class resistance in some key workplaces in India, Australia, the UK, and the US. Revolutionary Rehearsals in the Neoliberal Age, however, compels us to be attentive to a different view of this era. Tracing revolutionary uprisings from 1989 to 2019, this book is a map of resistance and resilience in the face of tremendous odds. The case studies, as well as the introductory essay, lead us through situations where the victory of capitalism over humanity was anything but assured. And yet the book is not a wistful history about what could have been. Rather, it is a strategic assessment of near-victories to prepare us for the fire next time." --Tithi Bhattacharya, coauthor of Feminism for the 99%

"This fine collection of essays deals with some of the most significant revolutionary situations in the neo-liberal era. It makes great reading, with powerful arguments, and concludes with a wager on the future: climate change is a terrible danger, but it has revolutionary potential, because it cannot be prevented by partial reforms which do not challenge the capitalist system itself." --Michael Löwy, author of Revolutions and Ecosocialism

About the Editors:

Colin Barker (1939-2019) taught sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University. He authored or edited several books, including Revolutionary Rehearsals.

Gareth Dale teaches politics at Brunel University. He has published books on Karl Polanyi, East Germany, and green growth.

Neil Davidson (1957-2020) taught sociology at Glasgow University. He authored many books on Scottish history and Marxist theory.